Novartis launches $2.1B bond issue; Conserving cash, Takeda won't hike dividend;

> Novartis said it had launched a seven-year €1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) bond issue with a coupon of 4.25 percent. Report

> Japan's largest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical will suspend share buybacks and skip a dividend hike to conserve cash, the Nikkei business daily said. Report

> Eli Lilly resubmitted its FDA application for broader use of Cymbalta, an antidepressant, as a remedy for chronic pain; the new app includes data from a new study. Release

> Spanish pharmaceutical firm Almirall got the FDA nod for adolescent use of its Almotriptan migraine drug. Report

> Pfizer Animal Health got FDA approval for the first cancer treatment for dogs: Palladia, a.k.a toceranib phosphate, which will be generally available in early 2010. Release

> GlaxoSmithKline received U.S. antitrust approval to buy privately-held skincare company Stiefel Laboratories, U.S. officials said. Report

> A gene that is highly active in up to 20 percent of breast cancer cases might be blocked by Losartan, a generically available blood pressure drug, U.S. researchers said. Report

> Results from a small, early-stage trial suggest the strategy of attacking tumors based on their genetic characteristics could soon yield effective drugs against advanced melanoma. Report

> Pfizer announced the successful completion of its offering of €5.85 billion and £1.50 billion of senior unsecured notes (totaling approximately $10.5 billion). Release

> A late-stage study of Cell Therapeutics' pixantrone demonstrated its ability to significantly increase the remission rates of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And investors moved swiftly to push its stock up 47 percent on the news. Report

> Versartis, a start-up developer created late last year as a joint venture between Amunix and Index Ventures, has raised $11 million in the first close of a Series A that could later swell to $16 million. Report

> Millennium Pharmaceuticals CEO Deborah Dunsire showed up at ASCO's annual meeting in Orlando intent on finding mid- and late-stage cancer therapies to buy. Report

> After burning through $220 million in a failed quest to gain approval for the blood substitute Polyheme, Northfield Laboratories has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to liquidate its assets. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has beefed up its early stage pipeline in a deal with Concert Pharmaceuticals that could be worth up to $1 billion. The two companies will collaborate to develop and commercialize deuterium-containing medicines. Report

> A high-yielding process for manufacturing clinical volumes of DNA vaccines and gene-based therapeutics is said to be scalable, from lab to clinical trials and final product manufacturing. The process has been implemented at the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Report

> As FluMist maker MedImmune announced its win of an HHS contract for the manufacture of a single-strain live H1N1 influenza vaccine, biotech equipment and services supplier Sartorius Stedim announced several large orders for consumables from leading vaccine manufacturers linked to H1N1 vaccine testing. Report

> TAKE Supply Chain, formerly ClearOrbit, has unveiled an Internet-based mobile application that automates asset data collection for the tracking and reporting of fixed assets, both capital and physical. Report

> A team of scientists from Harvard and Advanced Cell Technology have devised a new and evidently safer way to reprogram skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. Report

> Researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston have identified a protein that appears to play a key role in about 15 percent of all cancers, offering a new drug target that could be particularly effective for hard-to-treat patients. Report

> Viral DNA was used to introduce a gene for a green fluorescent protein into monkeys, creating a new line of "glow-in-the-dark" transgenic primates for drug research work. Report

And Finally... Teens whose parents have a history of depression cut their own risk of developing the illness via group therapy, a new study shows. Report